Are we South African women whinging too much or not enough?

We’ve passed Women’s Day and are not even half way through Women’s month and I don’t know if I am one of the few who feel sick and tired of all the whinging about how badly women are treated.  I kind of love that word “whinging.”   It means to protest or complain in a persistent manner.   There are moments when we do celebrate but it seems that most of the time we complain even while there is something to celebrate.    Like in the SANGONET weekly newsletter.  One article starts “Not only are women playing more of an active role in managing a home’s finances, they are also playing an integral part in the home buying process, now more so than ever before… If we look at the breakdown of our website traffic, 64% of our users are women, which suggests that women are most often the ones driving the decision when it comes to purchasing a home.”  Adrian Goslett – REMAX SA.  Picking up the same theme the next article brings in the usual whinging comment:   While women form the majority of property buyers in South Africa, they, however earn less than their male counterparts.  A persistent wage gap is what makes it more challenging for women to enter the property market.” 

So that is where we are, doing our thing, but “don’t forget we’re disadvantaged!”  Life isn’t fair, we know that too and live with it.  We’re doing great stuff in those houses, with even the little resources we do have, less money, less time because we also have jobs, but we’re making the best of it.

Honestly now, do we like this homey thing?   Many of us do.  Do we all really want to be captainesses of industry, leaders in every field, parliamentarians, ministers, church leaders too?   Maybe some of us do, but not all.  We also like tea parties with friends, spending time watching the kids play sport or do their dances in festivals.   Some of us manage to do the 4R thing very well, but also like to sew, knit, paint, do embroidery,  make our homes beautiful and why not? Is it status or the media, the advertising industry too, that pushes us out of our comfort zones?  One advert in my inbox yesterday told me, “Things you have to buy this week.”  Is it absolutely necessary to have that extra money rather than the joy of trying new recipes, cooking, gardening  and fun with the kids during their holiday times?   Do we have to wait until we retire and, only as grandmothers, enjoy time with our grandchildren that we didn’t have when our own little ones were growing up.

What has driven us to be such achievers?   Am I whinging too much, or not enough?  A former US president’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, once is reputed to have said, “A woman is like a teabag – you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.”  Is the best tea drunk out of your best china cups at a garden party, or sharing with friends surrounded by kids and dogs, or is it gulped down between meetings or left to get cold on your desk while you negotiate contracts worth millions that will never come your way?

A woman is a rock, yes, but as is also said, “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” “Moss, what’s that?” “Have you taken time to see any lately?”  And didn’t Jesus say that a rock is a good place to build a house?

While mulling over MARFAM’s “Women and Men Matter” August theme I’ve also been working on the September “Heritage and Environment” theme. Hence these common and garden thoughts.  Pope Francis agrees. Although in Laudato Si’ he doesn’t talk about women’s joys he writes,  “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.  We lack an awareness of our common origin, our mutual belonging and a future to be shared with everyone. LS202.  Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. LS203.  The family is the heart of the culture of life.   There we learn how to show love and respect for life, the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures.  In the family we receive an integral education which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity.  We learn to ask without demanding, to control our aggressivity and greed and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings.  LS213.    

Is there a balance to be found? That’s what I can’t help keeping on whinging about!        TR   FAMILY WEEKLY 14 AUGUST

1 Comment

  1. Mitzi

    While I was reading this, Toni, I couldn’t help thinking about all those women who don’t have homes; those without houses but who may be ‘fortunate enough’ to live in shacks that provide little or no shelter from the elements.

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